The records keep coming from findmypast.com.uk – this time it is military records. Findmypast.co.uk has recently added 184,650 records and 1,003,794 images to their Chelsea Pensioners collection for the period 1760-1854. This brings the total amount of Chelsea Pensioner records and images on findmypast.co.uk to 691,520 records and 4,200,729 images.
Wikipedia describes a Chelsea pensioner is an in-pensioner at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement home and nursing home for former members of the British Army located in Chelsea, London.
These records are of men pensioned out of the British Army 1760-1913. The connection with ‘Chelsea Pensioners’ is that the pensions were administered through The Royal Hospital at Chelsea.
Many of the soldiers listed will have served in some of Britain’s most significant wars, including the Battle of Waterloo (1815), the Crimean (1853 – 1856) and both Boer Wars (1899 – 1902). Each individual soldier’s record consists of a bundle of a minimum of four pages, full of fascinating personal details, and could even be up to 20 pages long.
The details that can be found in these records are invaluable to family and military historians, providing a rich and colourful story of our ancestors’ lives, with a level of detail that is hard to find in any other historical records. Among the information included in these documents are the soldier’s date and place of birth, name and address of next of kin, height, hair and eye colour, distinguishing features such as tattoos, rank and regiment, occupation before joining the army, medical history and countries where, and dates when, the soldier served.
The records not only relate to servicemen born in the UK, but also throughout the world, with many soldiers born in India and even the Caribbean. These records are also invaluable to Irish, Scottish and Commonwealth researchers, as many men joined the British Army from these countries throughout the centuries.
Remember that these records are free to search, like all the records on findmypast.co.uk, and you won’t find them anywhere else online. Even if you don’t think that any of your ancestors could have been Chelsea Pensioners, try searching the records – your ancestor may have only served in the army for a short time before they were pensioned out.
When you’ve viewed these records you’ll realise how special they are. The records are the next best thing to looking at a photograph of your ancestor. So what are you waiting for, start your search now?